After National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) recent order to impose heavy penalty on those carrying and distributing polythene, the UT is gearing up to crack down on violators but majority of traders and residents seem unaware of the increase in fine on violators.
However, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal chief Chiranjeev Singh on Friday said they would move the Punjab and Haryana high court against the ban on plastic plates and cups.
The penalty on plastic carry bags will come into force from Saturday.
A visit to different markets revealed that many shopkeepers and apni mandi vendors —completely unaware of the ban — were selling household articles and vegetables in polythene bags, though some traders have already started using woven or jute bags.
People, who agree on a strict ban on polythene, say the authorities should put up notices at every nook and cranny to announce the increase in fine from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000.
After ban on polythene was imposed in the city in 2008, majority of the garment stores now offer cloth, paper or jute bags. At the Sector-17 market, most traders could be seen using woven bags. One such departmental store, in fact, uses certified ECO grade photodegradable plastic bags, specially imported from the USA. These bags degrade fully within 240 days by extended exposure to sunlight.
Shopkeepers at Sector 22 Shastri Market were also seen using woven bags, but a lot of stuff was stored in huge polythene bags. Roadside vendors could be seen selling jute and cloth bags at the market. Not many traders were found using polythene bags in Sector-35 market too. “We are now completely shifting to woven bags,” traders said.
Many traders were also seen ordering woven bags instead of polythene bags for their stores.
But, apni mandis at Sector 39 and 46 posed a different picture as most vendors were seen selling vegetables in plastic bags. On asking about the ban, they said it did not matter as “officials don’t issue a challan of more than `500”.
When informed about the increase in penalty, they said, “We don’t know about this, and moreover, local residents should help us by carrying their own bags.”
Acting on the NGT order, the administration has now decided to take stringent action against those using or selling items in polythene/plastic bags, plastic plates or plastic glasses and such allied items. Separate teams of the municipal corporation (MC), food and supplies department, pollution control committee and health department have been directed to hold drives and issue challans to ensure strict implementation of the order. The NGT had recently stated that any person found storing, purchasing, dealing with or distributing plastic items, would be liable to pay `5,000 fine per violation.
A plastic bag costs between 15 and 50 paise, while a woven bag costs between `2 and `4, depending upon the size.